Brief Communication abstract

Nature Neuroscience 11, 541 - 542 (2008)
Published online: 13 April 2008 | doi:10.1038/nn.2111

Reduction of stimulus visibility compresses apparent time intervals

Masahiko Terao1,2, Junji Watanabe1,3, Akihiro Yagi2 & Shin'ya Nishida1


The neural mechanisms underlying visual estimation of subsecond durations remain unknown, but perisaccadic underestimation of interflash intervals may provide a clue as to the nature of these mechanisms. Here we found that simply reducing the flash visibility, particularly the visibility of transient signals, induced similar time underestimation by human observers. Our results suggest that weak transient responses fail to trigger the proper detection of temporal asynchrony, leading to increased perception of simultaneity and apparent time compression.

  1. NTT Communication Science Laboratories, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation, 3-1 Morinosato Wakamiya, Atsugi, Kanagawa, 243-0198, Japan.
  2. Graduate School of Humanities, Kwansei Gakuin University, 1-155 Ichibancho Uegahara, Nishinomiya, Hyogo 662-8501, Japan.
  3. Precursory Research for Embryonic Science and Technology, Japan Science & Technology Agency, 3-1 Morinosato Wakamiya, Atsugi, Kanagawa, 243-0198, Japan.

Correspondence to: Masahiko Terao1,2 e-mail:


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